Jefferson New Jersey Physicians Bring Healthcare and Hope to Woman Battling Cancer

November 23, 2020


Jefferson Health – New Jersey’s biggest fan is a 65-year-old grandmother who lives 2,000 miles away. Patricia Lorentzen lived in Whiting, NJ, in 2018 when she faced an avalanche of health problems.

“Jefferson offers not only healthcare, but hope,” says Patricia, who retired two years ago after working in senior care and hospice care for Alzheimer’s patients.

Thanks to the excellent care she received from several Jefferson New Jersey doctors, Patricia survived four bouts of cancer and was able to move to Orlando, Florida, to be near her beloved grandchildren.

“I was a patient of Dr. Jay Steinberg, and he literally saved me from death and has enabled me to embrace life again,” she said. “His courtesy and kindness sets him apart … he’s an excellent surgeon with a great personality.”

Patricia discovered she had a nodule on both her right and left lung. Her left lung nodule was Stage 1, Type B, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. After going to several thoracic surgeons, she found one she felt comfortable with: Dr. Steinberg. He performed a lobectomy (surgery to remove the left lobe of her lung) in April 2018 and four months later took out the nodule on the right side. Patricia, fortunately, did not need chemotherapy or radiation.

“Dr. Steinberg was my rock and we call him ‘family,’” she says.

“I had the pleasure of helping Ms. Lorentzen and her family through her surgery and post-operative care,” says Dr. Steinberg. “It was a reminder of the deep privilege patients and families bestow on us when last year I took my family to Florida and met up with the Lorentzen family for a truly special and rewarding dinner.”

Patricia says that Dr. Steinberg’s office staff were organized and incredibly caring, something she says went a long way as she was “scared to death” about the lobectomy. The registrar sensed Patricia’s fear and stopped what she was doing to pray with her. Later, in the ICU, an occupational therapist had her smiling and even trying to sing.

Following her procedure, Patricia was referred to Family Medicine Practitioner Dr. Ciby Varkey to manage her ongoing care: “From the first day we met, Dr. Varkey blessed me with her gentle kindness, deep concern and exemplary care. Her demeanor makes patients feel better just being in her presence.”

When she later developed cancer in her right breast (in situ carcinoma), Patricia was successfully treated by a breast surgeon at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township.

Also in 2018, a bout with thyroid cancer brought her to Jefferson New Jersey Chief of Surgery Dr. Roy Sandau.

“I am a grateful patient of Dr. Sandau – a gifted physician who gave me back my voice,” Patricia explains. “Unfortunately, it’s not a singing voice and we both agreed I should use my singing voice only in the shower and with a very loud radio!”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she had another brush with cancer, discovering she had skin cancer on her left breast. Plastic Surgeon Dr. Julia Spear operated on her at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital.

Patricia sums up her positive experience this way: “These doctors demonstrate an extraordinary level of concern for each patient. It is rare to find so many remarkable physicians in the same healthcare system.”

Having been a patient at both the Washington Township and Cherry Hill Surgery Centers and in the Jefferson Primary & Specialty Care Office in Marlton, she feels immensely grateful for the care she received.

“How can I ever thank everyone I’ve come in contact with who has taken me from death’s door to a very joyful life? Because of the amazing care I received, I’m in the process of writing a book called Broken to Beautiful. In the beginning I felt my scars were ugly; now I feel beautiful because the scars tell my story.”

For more information on Cancer Services offered at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township, click HERE or call 856-218-5324.